Richard Finnigan, a former three term Dorchester state Representative who was well known for his support of youth sports and the St. William's parish band, died Tuesday, March 31 at New England Medical Center. He was 72.
Finnigan served three terms in the Massachusetts Legislature, representing a district composed of Ward 13, including all of Savin Hill and parts of Uphams Corner and the Columbia-Savin Hill neighborhoods. He was first elected in 1972, defeating Rep. James Hart, and was re-elected in 1974 and 1976.
He left the Legislature in 1979 to take a management position with the Boston Fire Department. While there, he enrolled in college courses and was awarded a bachelor's degree from UMass-Boston.
"He loved government and working with people," said former Senator Paul White, a longtime friend and colleague. "He was a real family man and was very active and dedicated to St. William's parish."
Finnigan helped run the St. William's Bingo, and devoted much of his spare time to the parish marching band. He also coached and help run the youth baseball league, which played games at the field across the street from the Playstead Road home he shared with his wife, Kay, and their eight children. Finnigan was particularly devoted to coaching girls' softball teams.
"Dicky probably coached most of the girls and young women in the last 50 years in Dorchester," State Rep. Martin Walsh said this week. "He loved it. Every year he was retiring and then every year he'd come back. The corner diamond at the park, I don't think it's named for anybody, but that's Dicky Finnigan's field.
"He was a very strong, principled person, devoted to his faith and very much pro-life. He never criticized me for any votes and we would talk about it, but he never positioned me or asked me for a vote," Walsh said.
Finnigan held the same State House seat once held by legendary Savin Hill political leader Robert H Quinn. Quinn stepped down as Speaker of the House to become Attorney General in 1969, and was succeeded by an Uphams Corner man, Rep. James Hart. After two terms, Finnigan was endorsed by three other potential candidates from Savin Hill and won the seat in September, 1972.
"I knew his family, they lived down the street from me on Auckland at the corner of Doris," Quinn recalled this week. "Richie was a good man, and he came from a very close family. They were very good neighbors."
A funeral Mass celebrating Dick Finnigan's life will be held on Monday, April 6 at 10 a.m. at St. Margaret's Church of Blessed Mother Teresa Paris. Internment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Roslindale. Visiting hours at James A Murphy & Sons Funeral Home, 1020 Dorchester Ave., Saturday 5-7 p.m. and Sunday 2-6 p.m. For directions and guestbook see www.jmurphyfh.com